Exodus 33:

18Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

19And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

21Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

What is the relationship between God's glory and goodness? Are they the same?

  • Goodness, as in good things; splendid things (splendor, glory); that which is good or admirable or glorifying about something or someone.
    – Lucian
    Commented Jun 10, 2021 at 11:36

3 Answers 3


The glory of God is the beauty of His spirit which emanates from His character, from all that He is. The glory of God is eternal, and will never fade or pass away. The glory of God is revealed in His creation and is constant:

The heavens are telling of the glory of God and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands; day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge (Psalm 19:1).

The glory of God is revealed in His Son, Jesus Christ, who is the most amazing gift that God has given. Jesus declared,

No one is good—except God alone (Luke 18:19).

God is good in that He has a plan to redeem fallen mankind. The salvation Jesus provides attests to His goodness and love: “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Goodness is part of God’s nature, and He cannot contradict His nature. Holiness and righteousness are part of God’s nature; He cannot do anything that is unholy or unrighteous. God is the standard of all that is good. The fact that God is good means that He has no evil in Him, His intentions and motivations are always good, He always does what is right, and the outcome of His plan is always good. There is nothing unpleasant, evil, or dark in Him. The Bible teaches that God’s goodness extends from His nature to everything that He does (Psalm 119:68).

“The LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100:5).

On the basis of Scripture, it is clear that the glory of God embraces the goodness of God. The glory of God also embraces His holiness and righteousness – they are also part of God’s nature. While goodness, holiness and righteousness are part of God’s unchanging nature, those facets combine to make up the whole, which manifests in the glory of God.

Are they the same? No, but God's goodness is one facet of His glory.

Partial quotes taken from these two articles:


Let's take a quick glance at Strong's definition for Hebrew word translated as glory:

h3519. כָּבוֹד ḵâḇôḏ; rarely כָּבֹד kabod; from 3513; properly, weight, but only figuratively in a good sense, splendor or copiousness: — glorious(-ly), glory, honour(-able).

When Moses asked to see God's glory he was asking to see something visually spectacular that is awesome to behold and impresses you with the weight or greatness of what you seeing.

When God says he was to show Moses His goodness, He was basically referring to the same thing. We normally think of goodness in some invisible moral sense, but that is not necessarily what is meant here, though of course, God is the epitome of moral goodness.

Let's now take a look at Strong's dictionary definition of the word translated as goodness.

h2898. טוּב ṭûḇ; from 2895; good (as a noun), in the widest sense, especially goodness (superlative concretely, the best), beauty, gladness, welfare: — fair, gladness, good(-ness, thing, -s), joy, go well with.

The same root word for goodness is used to describe the beautiful or handsome baby Moses in Exodus 2:2 and the impressive looks of the statuesque King Saul in 1 Sam 9:2. In Genesis 1, God saw that his creation was good. And the whole Earth is full of God's glory (Is 6:3) and indeed our big blue marble has much to visually impress.

So, if we take into account the range of meaning for the Hebrew word translated as "goodness" and its root, we can understand how God can refer to his visual "glory" as His "goodness."


While כָּבֹוד (glory) has the root meaning of heavy, כָּבֹוד is not used in the Old Testament with that direct meaning.

Senses (from Logos Bible Software database) enter image description here

The root with the mean light means to dishonor or curse.

Senses enter image description here

Thus, honor in the Old Testament has the meaning of honor and take seriously.

In the New Testament δόξα (glory) has the root meaning of brightness or brilliance.

senses enter image description here

While טוּב (goodness) is one of God's attributes, the context here is appearance; thus beauty, loveliness.

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Both and have the idea of honor and valuing.

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